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Exhibition Drawn to Purpose

New Narratives, New Voices

Since the 1940s, the voices of mothers, children, adolescents, feminists, lesbians, and coworkers bring new stories into comic strips, minicomics, comic books, and graphic narratives. In addition to mainstream outlets, underground and independent publishers, alternative weekly papers, self-publishing, and the web have become important platforms. For Better or For Worse chronicles the ups and downs of the Patterson family in the voice of the mother “Elly,” the multi-faceted character with whom creator Lynn Johnston closely identifies. Lynda Barry paints a less idyllic but no less amusing picture of neighbors and family life in her autobiographical work One! Hundred! Demons! Hilary Price conveys a child’s straightforward, hilarious take on the adult workplace in her Rhymes With Orange strip. Alison Bechdel gives readers a dark glimpse of intolerance toward lesbians in her long-running comic Dykes to Watch Out For. Jillian Tamaki presents snapshots from two pre-teen girls’experiences of family life. These examples represent but a small fraction of vibrant, varied stories told in diverse voices and styles in recent comics and graphic narratives.